Anxiety & Depression
October 2020 Issue - Paisley Prescriptions
Anxiety & Depression
There is no doubt almost everyone in the world has had a brush with stress this year. For many, daily living routines have become overwhelming, sparking a growing trend of sadness, anxiety and depression. In our modern-day world, where we flit here and there, overload our to-do lists, argue over every little thing and rarely relax without some type of electronic device, the rat-race now sets the pace many follow. That combined with Covid-19, elections, violence and social distancing—it’s no wonder feelings of panic and hopelessness are at an all-time high. However, there is help. We asked our local health professionals to weigh-in on anxiety and depression to help us understand what it is, how it affects us and what we can do about it.
by Nicole A. Hiller, FNP-C, AOCNP
How do I find the right health professional to help me with my anxiety and/or depression?
There are many health care professionals who can help treat anxiety and depression. A good place to start is with your primary care provider. They are able to prescribe medications to help with anxiety and depression, and they can also refer you to a mental health professional, if needed.
Panic attacks are starting to control my life.
What can I do to win the battle?
Panic attacks can certainly be very frightening. Trying to understand the source of panic attacks is a good first step in getting them under control. Recognizing stressors and minimizing them can also be helpful. Participating in exercise, yoga or meditation may also reduce anxiety and panic attacks. You can also speak to your primary care provider or mental health provider to see if medication or counseling may help minimize anxiety before it elevates into a disorder.
How did I get my anxiety?
Can I pass it on to my children/grandchildren?
Experiencing anxiety occasionally is normal. Feeling anxious before a big event, or in a dangerous situation, is expected and usually temporary. Anxiety disorders are more complex and can be caused from several things, including traumatic life events, underlying medical diagnoses, chronic pain, alcohol use, medication withdrawal, drug use, having a certain personality type, a diagnosis of other mental health disorders and family history.
Anxiety disorders may be genetic and passed on to future generations. Understanding your family’s medical history is important and may help your health care provider better identify possible problems.
Nicole A. Hiller, FNP-C, AOCNP, Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Primary Care, 308 Bedell Avenue, Woodbine, GA, a strategic affiliate practice of Southeast Georgia Health System: 912.576.5999.
by Deborah Riner, C.Ht.
It is so very important, especially during Covid-19, to monitor your anxiety levels. But what can you do safely while social distancing and avoiding crowds?
> Virtual visits with friends and family, or check in with daily text messages.
> Use guided imagery, relaxation and meditation as part of your daily routine.
> Monitor the amount of media time you are viewing. Too much negative news is depressing!
> Learn something new.
> Pick up a book and read.
> Schedule time daily for physical activity. Even yard work, weeding and planting, bird watching, or a brisk walk or bike ride around your neighborhood can help reduce stress.
> Make yourself a priority! You should find with more
time than usual, there is a slower pace, thus less stress.
> Enjoy your added family time but remember to respect everyone’s privacy, giving each person in your home their own time to spend in prayer and meditation. Even children need quiet time.
> Lastly, use humor and laugh at yourself. Ha ha!
No one can see you talking to yourself with your mask on!
Deborah Riner, C.Ht. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master and Owner of Coastal Hypnosis Center: 1608 Reynolds Street, Brunswick, GA. Call 912.261.8906 or www.coastalclinicalhypnosiscenter.com, Facebook: Coastal Hypnosis Center
by Harold L. Kent, MD
How can I control emotional eating when I’m feeling anxious or sad?
Emotional eating is a real issue since certain foods cause activation of pleasure centers in the brain through a chemical processes. So, “comfort food” is an accurate term, and food addiction is the result. The organization Overeaters Anonymous deals with the concept of food as an addiction through a 12-step program. To curtail emotional eating, they suggest avoiding boredom, stress and emotional triggers.
One strategy to curtail emotional eating is the “broccoli” test; before eating, ask yourself “Am I hungry enough to eat broccoli?” If you aren’t, then your hunger may not be physical. Planning meals (reward yourself with an occasional treat, but don’t skip meals), making a grocery list and keeping a food diary will help you to control emotional eating. There are some foods that can be stress reducing, such as fish, dark cherries and herbal teas.
Support from a counselor, friends and family, and hypnotherapy can be very helpful. If you’re fit, then exercise vigorously. This can help by providing an endorphin surge to control your emotions, eliminating the feeling of the need to eat. When you do eat, slow down and savor your food. Repeating mantras like, “I erase my anxious self,” and “I will overcome my sadness” can also help to distract you from a desire to overeat.
What’s the difference between feeling sad and being depressed?
We all feel sad occasionally, but usually in response to a life event. As such, sadness is usually a self-limited emotion. A friend moves far away, a loved one dies, our favorite team loses the big game. We’re sad for a while and this emotion passes or fades. Depression is a clinical diagnosis. Symptoms of depression can include feeling sad, craving unhealthy foods, sleep disorders (too much or too little), lack of energy, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, trouble focusing or concentrating, anger, irritability, unhappiness, poor work performance, substance abuse, physical symptoms, withdrawing from social life, suicidal thoughts and other symptoms.
Depression can be caused by genetic, biochemical, situational, seasonal, hormonal issues and even certain medications. Evaluation and counseling by a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist can help. For certain types of clinically defined depression, medication prescribed by a psychiatrist, or other physician familiar with depression, may benefit a patient with depression. Seasonal affective disorders may respond to light therapy during the darker winter months. Exercise—even light exercise—can improve someone’s mood. However, if a person expresses suicidal ideation this should be taken very seriously and help obtained immediately.
Dr. Harold L. Kent, specializing in Bariatric & General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa & More; 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick. Call 912-264-9724.Website: Georgiacoastsurgical.com, Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical & Med Spa.
by Thom Davis, Certified Nutritionist
Are there any herbal supplements I can take for my depression/anxiety?
With depression, or feeling depressed, there are several supplements to consider:
> You can use SAM-E in the 100 to 200 MG twice daily dosage. It takes a bit longer to work but has few side effects.
> St. John’s Wort works on mild to moderate depression by increasing serotonin levels. Take 300 MG with 3 percent hypericin twice daily. (You may go to three times a day when starting and then go to twice daily)
> L-Theanine is a relaxing agent for the brain. Studies show it increases serotonin, Gaba and dopamine—100 to 200 MG daily.
> Gamma-amino butyric acid (Gaba), can be tried for anxiety, as it reduces excitability throughout the nervous system. It reduces the activity of neuron’s in the brain and central nervous system, which in turn increases relaxation, reduces stress, balances mood and boosts sleep—250 to 500 MG twice daily.
> Ashwaganda is used to help with stress. It is good for people who push hard and feel burned out. It may help restore vitality and help cortisol levels stay healthy.
> CBD is a naturally occurring compound in cannabis plants. It is known as an anxiety buster, and no, you cannot get high from it. CBD has shown to elevate serotonin in many studies and promote a level of calmness.
> And, remember to eat a nutritious blood sugar balancing diet. Exercise is also important to fight anxiety and depression.
*Consult your physician, pharmacist or certified nutritionist before taking anything new to ensure no interactions with your current medications.
Thom Davis is a certified nutritionist at Feelin’ Great Wellness Center; 718 Mall Boulevard, Brunswick. Open 6 days a week; call 912.265.1552